Minneapolis, MN – Al Jefferson had 22 points and eight rebounds and led the Utah Jazz to a 96-80 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
Mo Williams had 15 points and seven assists while Randy Foye tallied 14 points for the Jazz, who have won four of their last five games.
With the win, the Jazz are one game behind the Lakers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. They need to win Wednesday's game at Memphis and hope that the Lakers lose to Houston on Wednesday in order to get in. Utah holds the tiebreaker over Los Angeles by virtue of winning the season series.
"It comes down to one game now," Jefferson said. "It's a big game. The only thing we can worry about is what we can control."
Derrick Williams scored 18 points for the Timberwolves, who were looking to finish over .500 at the Target Center for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea scored 12 and 11 points off the bench, respectively.
"You want to finish up better than that," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said of the home finale. "I know they had something to play for, but it was our last home game. I thought we should have had better effort, but we didn't."
Minnesota scored the first two points of the game, but Utah went on a 16-0 run over the next five minutes and the Jazz held the lead for the duration of the contest.
The Timberwolves cut the deficit to 26-18 by the end of the first quarter and got within two, 36-34, midway through the second.
However, Minnesota was unable to score in the final 2:48 of the period and Utah had a 49-41 advantage at halftime.
The Jazz opened the third quarter with a 8-2 spurt and extended their lead by as many as 14 points, 57-43, with 8:12 remaining.
The Timberwolves did not give up, however, as a layup by Derrick Williams started a 15-4 surge and brought them within three, 61-58, with 2:28 left to play in the frame.
Utah responded with a 10-2 spurt of their own, the lone score for Minnesota being Cunningham's 13-footer with 49 seconds to go, and the Jazz led 71-60 entering the fourth quarter.
Up 77-68 with 8:08 left in regulation, Foye drilled a 3-pointer to start a 15-2, run and the Jazz had a 92-70 lead with less than three minutes to play, sealing the victory.
Utah's Derrick Favors had 12 points and six rebounds ... Barea scored all of his points in the second quarter ... Minnesota was 2-of-17 from beyond the arc ... The two teams combined to score just six second-chance points ... Minnesota outscored Utah 20-8 on fastbreak points ... The Jazz swept the season series against the Timberwolves and have won seven of their last eight games against Minnesota.